Noelle has a varied family, civil and employment practice which includes:-
- High value ancillary relief cases
- Public law cases involving children where there has been serious non accidental injury, death or sexual abuse
- Criminal injury cases on behalf of victims of sexual abuse which require forward financial planning for their care
- Advising government department and companies in respect of discrimination and employment cases
- Advising the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in respect of matters of employment law
- Advising the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission in respect of discrimination matters
- Advising victims of harassment at work and/or employers in relation to presenting or defending High Court claims and related Tribunal matters
Noelle appears mainly in the Family Division of the High Court of Northern Ireland and at the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland on appeal from either the Industrial Tribunal of Northern Ireland or the Fair Employment Tribunal of Northern Ireland. Noelle has also appeared as leading Counsel in the House of Lords in respect of major discrimination cases. Noelle has represented two major commercial entities in respect of their pension schemes particularly in regard to equal pay issues. Noelle has successfully defended a large government department from multiple claims of equal pay with a huge saving to the public purse.
Notable cases include:-
A Health and Social Care Trust and Mother GH V Father IJ  NICA 3 – Appeal by the Father against a fact-finding judgment of the lower court in which the Judge had found the Father had raped and brutally assaulted the Mother on more than one occasion and had also assaulted one of the children. Appeal dismissed.
James (a child); in re appointment and discharge of Guardian ad Litem  NI FAM 2 – This case concerned a point of general importance in respect of the circumstances in which Guardians ad Litem should be appointed to represent children and their interests in proceedings which are about them and their future ; whether the Agency’s policy of not appointing a Guardian in Article 56 proceedings was a correct one.
British Telecommunications Plc v Meier, Kevin Owen  NICA 43 – Appeal by BT against an Order made by the IT in which it decided that BT had discriminated against the Respondent ( whom Noelle represented in the Court of Appeal)by reason of his disability and by failing to make reasonable adjustments for him . Appeal dismissed.
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust V M  NICA 50 – Decision of Court of Appeal (NI). The Trust supported by the Gal ( whom Noelle represented)sought to appeal against an Order of the Family Judge refusing to make a freeing order in respect of a child “Mason”. Appeal allowed and case remitted for rehearing before a different Judge.
South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust v M 2019 Mc A A11025 – The case was then reheard and a Freeing Order made in respect of the child “Mason”.
ZS v A Health & Social Services Trust  NIFam 9 – Application for declaratory relief brought by the mother of a child in foster care and in respect of whom an application to free for adoption was pending . The issue was whether the mother could restrict the information to be shared with the child about its biological parents should the child be adopted .The Department of Health and the Attorney General were joined to the case. The court held current law requires information as to the child’s identity should be shared with the child at a relevant point in the child’s life . Therefore the court had to balance the privacy rights of the mother and the rights asserted by the child to have information about genetic identity .
A & B (No.2) (children; injury; proof; suspicion; speculation)  NIFAM 1 – Case involving discussion about the nature and extent of the evidence which can properly be given by medical experts in non – accidental injury cases.
TT V HM  NI FAM 10 – Case involving principles of international law to be applied where the parents of the relevant child were both born in Egypt and held dual Egyptian/ British citizenship . Child born in N.Ireland but had lived in a number of different jurisdictions .
McKinstry v Moypark  NICA 12 – Issue of whether the IT was correct at a pre hearing review to decide that a meeting between the parties was “without prejudice “ and should be excluded from a claim made against the Respondents by the Appellant .The court was not satisfied that matters were fully considered by the Tribunal and the case was remitted for rehearing before a different judge .
McCorry v Mc Keith  NICA 47 – Appeal by Ardoyne Association against a decision of the IT which found the Appellant had dismissed the Respondent in circumstances that were automatically unfair, substantially unfair and amounted to disability discrimination. Discussion of Associative Discrimination ; shifting burden of proof. Appeal dismissed .
J in re (freeing order)  NI FAM 5 – Issue in freeing case of whether the mother’s consent to her son being adopted should be dispensed with on the ground of her being incapable of giving her consent or whether she was withholding her consent unreasonably.
C & D (children )  NI FAM 3 – This was an Appeal by the mother regarding the interpretation of Article 20 of the Adoption (NI) Order 1987 to revoke a freeing order ; relevance of the inherent jurisdiction of the court; whether Article 20 needed to be read in conjunction with Article 8(2) of the ECHR ;whether notice to the Crown required by Order 121(2)of the Rules of the Court of Judicature Act ; whether Article 20 of the Order compatible with the HRA. Notice issued and relevant departments and AG for (NI) joined to the proceedings .The court held Article 20 (1) of the 1987 Order needed to be read to ensure it did not breach Article 8(2) of the ECHR.
A Health and Social Care Trust v M & others; in re M  NIFam 3 – Whether 5 month old baby, M, should be removed from a ventilator and made the subject of a Palliative Care Order only; discussion of relevant medical guidelines and case law.
SCA Packaging Limited v Boyle  UKHL 37;  ICR 1056;  IRLR 746;  NI 317 – This case centred on the definition of disability within the DDA 1995 and in particular the meaning of the word “likely” in paragraph 6.1 of Schedule 1 of the Act.
McConkey & another v The Simon Community  UKHL 24;  ICR 787;  IRLR 757;  NI 297 – This case focused on the definition of what constituted a political opinion within the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
Shamoon v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary  UKHL 11;  NI 174;  2 All ER 26 – This case focused on the issues in relation to hypothetical comparators and what constituted a detriment.
Wojcik v Moy Park Limited  NICA – Appeal by the claimant against a Tribunal decision dismissing her claims against her former employer for race discrimination, sexual harassment, less favourable treatment on the grounds of her part-time worker status and constructive dismissal. All appeals dismissed save for the element in respect of holiday pay which the respondents were happy to concede for sensible economic reasons.
Martin, Claire v Southern Health and Social Care Trust  NICA 31 – Court of Appeal case in relation to the interpretation of the Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998 and in particular what constituted a rest period within the terms of the Council Directive 93/104/EC.
McPolin, Laura v Department of Finance & Personnel  NIIT 00215_09IT – Challenge to the pay scale for Northern Ireland Civil Service on the basis that it discriminated against the claimant indirectly and was contrary to the Equal Pay (Northern Ireland) Act 1970 in European law. Challenge unsuccessful.
Flynn & McNamara v The Department for Social Development  NIIT0086_08IT – Challenge to the pay structure of the Northern Ireland Civil Service on the basis that it fell foul of the Age Discrimination Regulations. Challenge unsuccessful.
Long, Gillian Lorraine v Social Security Agency & ors; in re decision on pre-hearing review  NIIT 1166_08IT; – Claim in respect of associated disability discrimination.
Rice, John Joseph v McEvoy, Yvonne  NICA 9;  NIJB 80 – Claim by a partner in a solicitor’s firm against the principal in relation to victimisation. Claim successfully defended and all further proceedings at Tribunal in relation to the Claimant’s subsequent dismissal and further victimisation claim successfully defended.
Veitch, Jason v Red Sky Group Ltd  NICA 39 – Disability discrimination case and victimisation case.
Nelson, Stephen William v Newry and Mourne District Council  NICA 24;  NIJB 49 – Respondent Council accused of discrimination on the grounds of sex. Issues in relation to comparators. Claim dismissed.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust v JD and another  NIFam 4 – Application by the mother under Article 15 of Brussels II seeking the Court to exercise its discretion to transfer the case to the Courts of the Czech republic. Application successfully opposed by the Guardian Ad Litem.
Curley, Kevin v The Chief constable of the Police Service of Northern ireland and another  NICA 8; Respondent appealed against a finding from a Fair Employment Tribunal that it had discriminated against the Claimant on the grounds of his religion. Appeal successful and the decision of the tribunal overturned.
F & T; in re (care proceedings; residence)  NIFam 1; Case involving both care and residence proceedings of two children where there was a different father for each child from a wholly different and religious background. T’s father, a Swedish citizen, successful in obtaining a joint residence Order in respect of T.
McG, MG v McG, B  NIFam 6; 2010 NI 67; husband intending to seek to set aside a Consent Order having agreed to pay a lump sum funded by the sale of the matrimonial home; value of the matrimonial home decreasing significantly; whether the Consent Order could be set aside in the absence of fraud, mistake or non disclosure; whether change in the value of the matrimonial home a new event undermining the basis of the Consent Order; whether proper procedures and applications to set aside or application for leave to appeal. Application for leave to appeal allowed.
D v D; in re (post-agreement windfall)  NI Master 75 – Case concerned whether a wife was entitled to reopen a matrimonial agreement.
Brangam, Heather Mildred; in re application for judicial review  NIQB 92 – Judicial review application against Law Society of Northern Ireland. Test case as to whether the body was capable of having its decisions subject to public law scrutiny.
ESJ (a minor); in re (residence order application; jurisdiction within United Kingdom; applicability of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003)  NIFam 6;  NIJB 48 – Challenge to the provisions contained in the Children (Northern Ireland) 1995 Order in respect of Emergency Protection Orders and in particular whether Article 64 (8) was compatible with Article 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court agreed the 1995 Order was not compatible with the Convention Rights and the offending legislation was then repealed.
AR v Homefirst Community Trust  NICA 8;  NI 435 – Issue concerned the decision making process of a Trust in the removal of a child from the mother. Court of Appeal argued that the mother’s Article 8 rights had been infringed.
1993 – present; Deputy County Court Judge
2004 – present; Bencher of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland
Former member of the VAT and Duties Tribunals
Former Chair of the Family Bar Association of Northern Ireland
2004 – 2006; Vice Chair of Executive Council of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and Bar Council of Northern Ireland
2006 – 2008; Chairperson of Executive Council of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and Bar Council of Northern Ireland
2008 – October 2012; Trustee of the Edinburgh Trust
2008 – 2012; Co-Chair of the Forum for Barrister and Advocates of the International Bar Association and former Co-Chair of the International Council of Barristers and Advocates
2014; Treasurer of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland
September 2014; Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers
September 2014; Fellow of the International Association of Barristers
October 2015; Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple
November 2018; Appointed as Legal Commissioner in the NI Judicial Appointments Commission having been nominated by the Bar Council of Norther Ireland
Member of the Senior Counsel Panel of Directorate of Legal Services – Employment
Member of the Senior Counsel Panel of the Directorate of Legal Services – Family
Member of the Senior Counsel Panel for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Former Trustee of Relate Northern Ireland
Member of the Employment Lawyers Group for Northern Ireland
Member of the Discrimination Lawyers Association
Member of the Medico-Legal Society for Northern Ireland
Trainer for the Advocacy Training Board for the Bar Council of Northern Ireland
Member of the Bar of Ireland
Member of Six Pump Court Chambers
One of eight women chosen to be part of a Women in Law project in 2019 sponsored by QUB and Athena Swan enitled “It’s hard to be what you cannot see; a project celebrating the achievements of women in Northern Ireland who forged a path”